A North Atlantic Right Whale mother and calf
Right whales are one of our favorite types of whales that we see on a whale watch. Sadly, these beautiful creatures are endangered, with only about 400 North Atlantic Right Whales in existence.
However, a recent LA times blog article indicates that the North Atlantic Right Whale population may be slightly on the rise. The article states:
“Marine biologists are cautiously optimistic that the North Atlantic right whale population has increased for the second consecutive season. Aerial and on-the-water surveys sighted almost 200 of the endangered mammals, including 39 mothers with calves. This is an increase from the 150 noted during last year’s survey.”
While this research is not 100% conclusive, any sign that the right whale population could be increasing is a good sign to us.
Right whales were once considered by whalers to be “the right whales to hunt”, and that is how they got their name. With a high percentage of blubber and baleen, the Right Whale was a very desirable catch. Sadly, whalers hunted the Right Whale almost to extinction, and are largely to blame for the low numbers of the species that exist today.
For more information on North Atlantic Right Whales, visit our friends at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies. The Center for Coastal Studies spends hundreds of hours in the field each year studying right whales, and they also work with disentanglement teams to rescue whales in need.
Photo: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission / NOAA